'Pushing Daisies': Black Magic

Ned Pushing Daisies proves yet again why this show is so magical. Putting aside the fact that it took place almost entirely at a magic show, the character development alone was enough to be put anyone under its spell.

These spoilers don't give a rat's ass.

Ned used to love his dad's magic tricks. That is, until he made himself disappear and never came back. Even though it wasn't their fault, Ned always resented his long-lost half brothers for taking his father away. Now that they're reunited as a family, Ned has to put aside his hatred for all things magic. Maurice and Ralston are illusionists and want their big bro and his friends to come see their double act and The Conjurer's Castle. The main act is The Great Herrmonn (played by Fred Willard), who seems to have a problem keeping his assistants alive.

Herrmonn recruits Emerson to help solve the mystery, but it turns out to be more than Emerson bargained for. The "assistants" are actually animals--doves, a bunny, and a monkey. Pet detectives get paid big bucks, according to Emerson, but Herrmonn coughs it up with great fanfare. And this week's case is off to a running start! Ned pulls Herrmonn aside to ask about his relationship with the twins. It turns out that their father abandoned the boys at one of his shows, and the twins were instantly enamored with magic. He thinks they were trying to hold on to their father's memory.

Ned's not the only one with family issues. Chuck is still trying to get some closure with her real mom, Lily, thanks to some bad accents and a telephone. It doesn't work, and she's left with a sea of questions. Vivian and Lily, however, get an unexpected visitor. Dwight Dixon (Stephen Root), knocks on their door claiming to be a friend of Chuck's deceased dad. Vivian is instantly excited to learn what Charles said about her, his fiancé. Lily keeps her mouth shut, but Dwight lets it be known that he knows her little secret. Vivian, unaware of all the deceiving, invites Dwight out to a secret date at the Pie Hole.

Back at the Castle, The Great Herrmonn is performing his second show of the night while Ned and company are investigating the deaths of the animals. They realize that that whoever was killing the animals was actually trying to kill Herrmonn. That's when all the screaming starts. It's The Great Herrmonn's assistant, Alexandria, who has just discovered the dangerous part of magic: death. It seems something went wrong with Herrmonn's greatest trick in which he puts himself into a box which is filled with concrete. He usually escapes before the pour, but not this time.

The police have deemed it an accident, but the twins aren't so sure. They say he did that trick way too many times to fail at it now. For the first time ever, Ned acts like a big brother and vows that he'll find justice for the twins, who loved the magician like a father. He's going to kick someone's ass! Of course, the first finger he and Emerson point is at Alexandria. She's been in the assistant role for way too long, even after being promised her own show for years. She says they're looking at the wrong person. They should really talk to The Geek.

Emerson The Geek is a strange little man. He eats glass and regurgitates live animals. He, too, considered The Great Herrmonn to be a role model but seems completely innocent. Later, Emerson busts open the cement block, only to find it body-less. There's been a switcheroo, but no one knows why. Ned and the twins decide to have a heart-to-heart about the situation, and they decide that they should all get over clinging to the past.

Eventually realizing that the body is still somewhere in the castle, the whole gang takes off for a treasure hunt. They take metal detectors that will locate the shackles Herrmonn was wearing and scour the castle. They find the cement block hidden under the stage, but only right before the hear the cement mixer start up. The twins take off to try to catch the killer while Ned and Chuck stay to talk to Herrmonn. Olive and Emerson attempt to follow the twins, but get distracted along the way when they find another dead body. This time it belongs to The Geek.

The twins have caught Alexandria, who still insists she's being set up. Emerson grills her about why she's even there, but she says it was because she was leaving her job. Eight years is long enough to wait on something that will never happen. Olive is put in charge of waiting with the dead body, but when she turns her back, we discover that The Geek isn't quite dead.

Ned has touched Herrmonn, who is pretty surprised he's dead. They ask him to divulge his secret escape route, which he admits was a trap door he released by a magnet in his shoe. Now you see him, now you don't. They wonder what the magnet had to do with anything until Chuck remembers that her necklace stuck to The Geek's stomach earlier, like it had a magnet inside. It turns out, The Geek swallowed the magnet, thus ensuring Herrmonn's cemented death.

The Geek has chosen Olive as a human shield while he's confronted about his murdering ways. He admits that he stole the magnets and then hid Herrmonn's body. He did it out of jealousy that Herrmonn favored the twins over him. Ned takes the opportunity to distract him with daddy issues and the rest of them take him down. That's teamwork!

Vivian, meanwhile, enjoyed her date with Dwight Dixon. This isn't so much a date for Dwight, though, as he's merely trying to find the location of a pocket watch that belonged to Chucks' father. Vivian tells him that the watch was buried with Chuck when she died. Dwight's not messing around... he wants the watch bad enough to dig up Chuck's grave. What he wasn't expecting was that it would be empty.

Acceptance is a tough step in the road of life, but it seems like Ned has finally taken it. He discovers that magic doesn't have to give him acid reflux anymore, but can actually be used for good. As a present to Chuck, he takes her to her old house for a bit of his own magic. He's put Olive inside wearing a hidden microphone and earpiece, so Chuck will be able to talk to her secret mother. Chuck is overwhelmed with love for Ned. The look yearning they share is heartbreaking yet romantic. A great ending to a great episode. Let's cross our fingers for many more.